Set back distance of new construction from property boundary

My Maison Secondaire is semidetached. My French neighbour has built a timber terrace that extends right up to our mutual boundary (and in fact slightly over it).

Since his land is much higher than mine above the retaining wall that forms the boundary, his new jerry built timber terrace looks directly down into my conservatory. As such I have lost the privacy I once enjoyed.

I’m told that new construction must be set back 3m from the boundary.

Does anyone know if this is correct and/or where I can access this urban planning information formally ?

As a side note, my neighbour failed to seek planning approval for his entire ugly, massive, jerrybuilt new garden construction and the local Mairie, under the authority of the various other Government Agencies, has ordered him to demolish the lot. But I’m not holding my breath…

Yep - the 3m limit seems to be correct - take a look at this article:

And - this for the actual legislation:

However - if your Mairie has things in hand I wouldn’t worry too much. Maybe best to sit down and have a chat with them and offer your support.

Brilliant - just what I’ve been looking for. It’s a dull day here too so a perfect opportunity for me to translation pages of French legislation! Hopefully there is a diagram in there somewhere as per such legislation in other countries.

As for the Mairie they too are aghast at what he has done next to a 15th century church so they are well and truly with me on this and acting on it. They are not well up on the legislation either so I can share this with them.

If you happen to have experience as an Urban Planner (as I do but not in France) can we chat by phone?


Hi Alec - no such experience I’m afraid - just lot’s of experience with French admin !! :slight_smile: Best of luck / Simon :slight_smile:

If it’s just a small plain terrace plonked on the ground, then it may not have required a déclaration préalable or a permis de construire depending on local rules. However if at all raised or covered then it might do, especially if over 20m2. Has your Marie told you if it does have either? As then you can look at it and see whether in accordance.

All Marie’s have access to planning advice from the next level up, the Direction Régionale de l’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement (DREAL). So encourage them to do so.

Here are also some references about overlooking;jsessionid=151A69C5125B7FC2ECE4727D76B23D01.tpdjo17v_2?idSectionTA=LEGISCTA000006150123&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070721&dateTexte=20110407

From memory it’s either on the boundary or a minimum of 3m but that’s based on an application 10 years ago!

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I agree with Andrew.
We obtained permission for our new build a little over 4 years ago and at that time, a structure had to be either on the boundary of 3m away from it - nothing in between.

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Hello Alec and welcome to the Forum.

If the Mairie etc have demanded that the garden construction be demolished… you could ask them the question… when ??? and keep speaking with them about it…in a friendly fashion…

Yes, I know it does take time for these things to actually be acted upon… but if everyone keeps asking/pushing the Powers-that-be will see that it does get taken down.

With regard to the retaining wall… I do know that if the Maire receives a written complaint/query about “boundaries and the neighbour”… they have to act… ie make a site visit to view and discuss with those involved… they then will have to provide a written reply. So, once you have had a chat (or before, if you are in UK)… get a letter done, outlining the problem…

It can go all the way to Court… but this is to be avoided if possible… however, the threat might be sufficient…